Samsung numerous smartwatches are some of the best choices for Android users, but they come with the caveat that to get them up and running on non Samsung devices, you need to install several apps. That includes installing Samsung Pay individually on your phone, but now Samsung is breaking Google’s terms of service by trying to sideload the Samsung Pay APK from the Wearable app.
Max Weinbach first pointed to that action on Twitter. When attempting to set up Samsung Pay from a non-Samsung smartphone on a Galaxy Watch — in his case a OnePlus 8 Pro — Weinbach shows that the Samsung Wearable app gets an APK for Samsung Pay and prompts the user to sideload it. He says the APK is pulled from a server.
The Samsung Wearable app previously directed users to set up Samsung Pay by moving them to the Google Play Store to get the requisite plug-in app. Now that Samsung distributes the plug-in as an APK, Google’s guidelines are clearly breached. In the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement Google describes (section 4.5):
Google typically removes applications from the Play Store that break this specific rule, but currently the Samsung Wearable app is still alive. Technically that is expected to change soon. If / when Google removes the app and/or when Samsung changes behaviour, we’ll update this post.
The Galaxy Wearable app can be downloaded from the Play Store and Galaxy Store, so I thought maybe this was a change intended for the Galaxy Store and was made by mistake simply in the Play Store version. But Max told me, that’s not the case. The Wearable app, when installed from the Galaxy Store, uses that store’s API to install the app without user interaction.
It's a pretty well known thing by developers, @ArtemR had mentioned it as the reason why the APKMirror app couldn't list actual APKs.— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) June 9, 2020
If the apk is part of the app package in assets or if the app builds and signs the app, it should be fine to be published to the Play Store.